Microsoft’s Paul Allen Sues Apple, Facebook, Google, Aol, Ebay, Youtube, Netflix, Yahoo, Office Max & Staples
Earlier in December, co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen decided that it would be a good idea to sue Apple, Google, Facebook, eBay, AOL, Netflix, Yahoo, Google’s YouTube, OfficeMax, Office Depot and Staples for violation of one of his patents. The patent in question relates to software that brings up information on related content to a search query or whatever you may happen to be looking at, whether it be an album in iTunes or a potential purchase on a website. The suit was thrown out on December 10 on account of it being “too vague” and Allen was given until December 28 to cut out the ambiguity and amend his case. So December 28 rolls around and guess what Paul Allen does. That’s right, he comes back with a new case. We’ll be watching this case with bated breath, and while Allen’s case is pretty much him throwing things against the wall and seeing what’ll stick, if he wins the payout will be rather large — think $500 million large.
Mercer Island billionaire Paul Allen today renewed his effort to sue Apple, Google, Facebook, eBay, AOL and other companies for patent infringement.
Allen’s case was rejected on Dec. 10 by a federal judge in Seattle who said it was too vague. U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman told Allen he had until Dec. 28 to file an amended suit.
Just meeting the deadline, Allen filed an expanded version of the original suit with more details of how the companies allegedly infringed. The filing also includes 40 exhibits, many of which are screenshots of Web sites with modules highlighted.
Here’s the filing: 2010-12-28 Interval First Amended Complaint for Patent Infringement (2).pdf
The companies being sued declined to comment on the allegations when the suit was first filed in late August.
Experts have said Allen’s case is a longshot but the potential payoff is large – perhaps $500 million or more if he wins.
Defendants named in the suit are Apple, Google, Facebook, eBay, AOL, Netflix, Yahoo, Google’s YouTube, OfficeMax, Office Depot and Staples.
Patents at issue in the case were generated by Interval Research, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based research venture that Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, and Xerox veteran David Liddle started in 1992. Allen closed it down in 2000.
Allen’s suit alleges that his patents cover, among other things, systems that automatically call up and display related content. The approach is widely used by online retailers and other sites across the Web.
For instance, when viewing a product on Apple’s iTunes store, the store automatically suggests related content that may be of interest. The suit filed today argues that this infringes on at least 20 claims made by a patent Allen holds.